In which our intrepid hero has a tough decision to make.

Picture this: you live in a state where three Ministers have been taken down, where schools have not been repaired in 10 years, where the trains are not only judged the worst in the world but have also been deemed unfit for the transport of battery hens, and where the Labor Government has a 59% disapproval rating. That state goes to an election.

And that government is returned, because the public opinion of the Opposition is even worse.

The Right of the NSW Liberal Party suggested in Friday’s Daily Telegraph that they would clear the ranks of the State Parliamentary Party of members of the Moderate faction, in response for the Party’s poor showing at the polls. They blame Moderate Shadow Minsters for not coming forward and selling Party policy:

[The Right] have foreshadowed a clean-out of MPs, many of whom are from the previously dominant moderate faction known as the Group […]

“Liberal Party members are angry the shadow ministry has effectively lost the election,” one party source said.

I imagine that these might be the same Ministers who were effectively gagged by Debnam’s insistence on running a “presidential”-style campaign.

If anyone lost the campaign for the Coalition, it wasn’t the Shadow Ministry—it was the man the Right got into the top job by blackmailing John Brogden into resigning and Barry O’Farrell into backing down from the subsequent leadership race.

His failure to appeal to the public is illustrated by the (wise) decision to downplay Debnam’s very existence in electoral materials.

Debnam—as have many failed leaders before him—blamed a lack of electoral funds for the Coalition’s poor performance. There is a causal link, to be sure, but it is the reverse of his claims. It’s a simple dilemma: with nothing to sell, no one will invest. Blaming low donations is putting the cart before the horse.

In my own electorate of Malebolge, I had a choice of five parties:

Labor: My Labor local member is actually quite good, but do I really have to vote for Iemma?

Liberal: The Liberal candidate seemed a nice enough guy, but do I really have to vote for Debnam?

Christian Democrat: I’ve never met a Christian Democrat I didn’t get along with, but do I really have to vote for that bigoted bibliolater, Fred Nile?

Unity: I’m not Chinese, and Pauline Hanson isn’t running. No reason to throw them a bone.

Greens: Sure, our drug policy needs a serious rethink, but legalising ice? Are you serious? I’ve had three friends go insane from that shit in the past year!

It wasn’t an easy choice, believe me. This cartoon from Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald pretty clearly illustrated my dilemma:

I’ve never walked into a polling booth before, without a clear intention of how I would cast a ballot. Ian Formal very nearly won my vote this time around.

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